What Is Happiness?

What is Happiness?

If there is one thing that is quickly gained from a study of practical philosophy it is the sense of perspective that it brings to our life. 

That this can be immediately applied, appreciated and understood directly in our lives is testament to how this wisdom of the ages accords so finely with our true nature.

After you complete Part 1 The Introductory Course, many students go on to enjoy Part 2. The theme of Part 2 is happiness.

Happiness is one, possibly even the one, great goals of life.

We all crave it, search for it, spend vast amounts of time and resources searching for it and chasing after it. Yet it always seems so elusive, so hidden, so fleeting and even unobtainable that at best we just keep chasing the chase, almost for the sake of it, and at worst risk sinking into unremitting despair or belief that it doesn’t really exist at all or if it does, its only for some people.

Ask a hundred people at random what happiness is and you will get as many answers.
  • Winning the lotto
  • Getting promotion
  • When he/she says I love you
  • Ireland winning the world cup
  • Achieving a just society
  • Meeting the girl/boy of your dreams
  • Buying that house or that car
  • Making the final mortgage payment. Going on holidays
  • Retirement
  • Finding some peace
  • Achieving our lifelong goals
  • Any or any particular combination of the above. 

We generally find an endless list of sometimes laudable, sometimes laughable, sometimes deep, sometimes superficial and sometimes even dark answers.

So is happiness really that diverse? That random? 

Does it really depend so crucially on money, on luck, on friendship, on partnership, on success at work, or sport, or making that purchase, at experiencing pleasure or satisfying that desire?

When we have fulfilled that desire does the restlessness which drove the it fall away so we experience some peace? Is that happiness? 

At least until the next desire arises and sets us off again. So is it just a temporary or fleeting thing.

Are our perceptions of happiness driven by our life circumstances, by the advertising media, by social media, by what we see and hear around us? 

What role, if any, does morality play, or thinking, or kindness, service, health or spirituality? 

  • Is happiness a habit?
  • Can it become a habit?
  • Can we learn to be happy? 
  • Can we learn not be unhappy?

Are circumstances the crucial factor? 

  • If so,  must it always be dependent on something and therefore subject to change as circumstances change? Are some people just born happy and some not?
  • And what about others? 
  • How important is their happiness? 
  • Can we be truly happy if it is at the expense of another person’s happiness? 
  • Or can true happiness only be experienced in our contribution to humanity?
  • Why are so many people so unhappy?
  •  Even in the midst of success or plenty.
  • Do we postpone our happiness? 
  • Do we give away our happiness? 
  • Do we sometimes think that we don’t have the right to be happy?
  • Or is happiness something quite different from all of the things we normally associate it with?

Have we really examined what happiness actually is rather than at what makes us happy? 

Would knowing that there is a difference be important in experiencing it?
Imagine if the answer to this elusive phenomena was right here in front of us – or even right here within us, within each and every one of us.

Part 2 seeks to explore how we can understand the true nature of happiness. It looks at where and how we seek to experience it. 

Whether or not the efforts we make are of any use. It poses questions on the permanent or transient nature of happiness. 

We will be asked to look deep within ourselves, to examine our true nature and put the ideas explored to the test in a practical way in our everyday lives. 

The class provides an open and interactive forum to discuss what we and others discover on this journey in a relaxed, mindful and reasoned environment infused with the teachings and wisdom of the ages.